What is a Career Objective for a Resume?

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What is a Career Objective for a Resume?

Do I need to include a professional summary on my resume?

Yes. Resume objectives are, simply put, statements that call out the fact that you a) want the job and b) are qualified and worth considering for the job. Seems obvious, right? The reality is, one should never underestimate the power of “calling out" exactly why you should be considered for a job and making your goals for the role extremely clear.

A strong professional summary sets you apart. A career objective is a targeted, compelling way of pointing out why your resume is worth considering over others. In other words, it's a statement of confidence and intention -- and well worth spending some time on as you put your resume together.

Why is a professional summary important?

Writing a strong career objective as an introduction on your resume is a valuable tactic for a number of reasons.
First, in a world that lacks spare time, the career objective can sometimes be the only portion of your resume that a potential employer reads -- often on their way to the interview.
Second, the career objective defines what you want from your next role. It shows how well you know yourself and where you want to go in just a few sentences. That is a good sign for any employer, illustrating a level of confidence, purpose, and self-awareness.

How do I write a strong career objective?

The career objective section of your resume is your “first impression". Approach this segment as an elevator pitch for yourself. Imagine you only have 30 seconds to tell someone why they should read on to learn more about you, and work backwards from there. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer -- what's an ideal combination of skills that you have that are most relevant for this role? What do they hope to see from an ideal candidate? Then summarize those thoughts into 2-3 sentences.

What the right way to format a career objective?

Start with a brainstorm. It should be simple, you are thinking about you. Come up with the most appropriate title to introduce yourself with. This title doesn't need to be complicated. It should describe who you are professionally. This headline is often as simple as “Financial Analyst" or “Communications Professional."

Once you have a title/headline in place, it's easier to dive into your personal skill sets in the “elevator pitch" portion of the objective. Consider adjectives that describe your most compelling skill sets and experiences for the role at hand.

It's also helpful to then show some outcome-oriented language around your past experiences if possible. Phrases like, “demonstrated results" or “successful projects and strategies" suggest you've had your fair share of achievements. Finally, combine these adjectives and outcomes into a compelling mini “case" for your employment.

To get a sense of what others have done for their career objective, take a look at these examples as a start — but remember, the best career objective is the one that is unique to you and your skills.

Ready for the next step? Read our article on the most successful resumes.